Harvest Festival celebrations were an integral part of life in the British Virgin Islands!
It was a time when families appreciated the crops grown and the nourishment they provided.
The week was traditionally honored with Church celebrations and family festivities.
Decorating the Church
On November 20, 1912, St. George’s Anglican Church celebrated the Harvest festival with a Thanksgiving Service.
According to Lightbourn’s Mail Notes, beautiful decorations of cane and flowers formed an arch within the Church.
As the parishioners gathered, the procession began with the carrying of the cross accompanied by four beautiful banners.
Under the organist’s direction, the choir sang the anthem, “O Lord, How Manifold Are Thy Words“.
The audience was very attentive.
On this day the new clergyman-in-charge, Rev. W.E. Longley was preaching.
He spoke about the importance of Genesis Chapter 8, Verse 22.
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
This verse signified a very merciful promise to the inhabitants of the earth.
That there shall be both seedtime and a harvest time, a proper time to deposit the different grains in the earth, and a proper time to reap the produce of those grains.
The Closing of Harvest Festival
At the end of the ceremony, the congregation sang a special Te Deum.
This was a Christian hymn of praise sung as an act of thanksgiving to Almighty God.
This custom continues today with the decorating of offering baskets, the enjoyment of music and the special reverence for gratitude through prayer.